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Growing up primarily an only child means lots of imagination and seeking sources of self-entertainment. Sure there were Beanie Babies and small pets, but when the novelty of those wore off, I always turned on my favorite movie. I never got sick of rewatching the same one every night for a week or two. Unfortunately, they were B movies and not necessarily renowned cinematic classics. Secondhand Lions, Practical Magic, Holes, School of Rock, The Holiday, the entire gamut of Disney/Pixar, the Harry Potter series, every romantic comedy and anything Hilary Duff or Shia LaBeouf was in. !?!?!?!?!?!!!! Why. There's a couple decent gems in there but... yeesh. Nevertheless, movies nearly always ended happy and I enjoyed knowing it was inevitable.
As you've (maybe?) noticed, a lot of my post titles are film related. Clueless and She's All That aren't the best representations of my current relationship with film given this week's topic, but they fit the era of my outfit. Many of you know the tv+film world was a huge part of my life for several years, and therefore it will always be a source of inspiration.
This tie-front contrast collared crop top I found in a boutique during our short stay in Siena, Italy. So many Britney Spears music video vibes. In addition: white pointed toe heels always remind me of dressing up my Barbie dolls. The entire look just screamed Cher Horowitz from Clueless delivering her internal monologue about college boys vs high school boys while walking into school. I leave you with the greatest line from that movie: "You're a virgin who can't drive." *Brittany Murphy overly exaggerated smirk*
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FIVE. ASOS A-LINE SUEDE BUTTON FRONT MINI SKIRT (50% OFF!)
My middle school summers were spent making up games to play in the neighborhood pool and bringing pockets of change for the ice cream truck. My mom used to tell me I moved so easily and looked like a mermaid (bonus points for Marcie).
Last summer, Potsy and I were staying in downtown LA for a month and decided to jet over to Catalina Island for my birthday in August. I was really excited to try snorkeling after hearing the fish weren't shy. We put on our wetsuits and bought some fish food and made our way to the edge of the dock. Potsy jumps in and I'm hesitant because I hate cold water. I finally make it in, but the current is super strong and I haven't quite adjusted to the temperature. In the midst of this, a fish leaps up and BITES MY HAND to grab the food I was holding! Needless to say, I wasn't having it. Too cold. I can't breathe through this tiny blowhole. A fish just bit me. Nope. After some coaxing, I did finally fully get in.
SO MUCH FOR BEING A MERMAID.
This summer I wanted to find other options for bottoms besides cut off jean shorts. I saw these linen vertical multi-stripe high waisted flared (so many adjectives) online at Beehive Boutique and knew they would be light enough to wear on several occasions. Unfortunately, they've sold out, but you'll still be able to snag 15% off online or in store with the code TAKE15AB at checkout! Below are some similar picks!
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ONE. 6PM / NALLY & MILLIE MULTICOLOR STRIPE PANTS
My great-grandfather was the epitome of the cat's pajamas (whatever that means, but it invokes an image). First of all, his name was Levi. I could realistically stop right there, but it gets better. He was a fighter bomber in WWII and flew supplies directly into England. They called him "Eagle Eye" because of his amazing eyesight despite hurling a hunk of metal through the air at 40,000 feet while trying not to be gunned down. He was a preacher in northern California and donated all of his land to the church before he moved to Arkansas. After moving to Magnolia, AR, he built his own house complete with a greenhouse--he was a daylily breeder! He cross-pollinated and founded two different types of daylilies that are registered in the state of Arkansas (named after him and my great-grandmother #crying). He ran a mile everyday until he was about 80. Oh, and as a late hobby, he started studying Mandarin because he knew the bulk of the population on this earth spoke the language. He died a few months before I graduated from high school at 83. Anytime I see a flower market, I think of him and the fact that he used to keep seeds and soil in his fridge.
Lately, I've been seeing this very efficient trend of wearing your swim top as a... well, regular top. With swimwear on its game at the moment, it's one of the first times I've seen fashion serve more of a practical function than a statement. Considering the state of Tennessee will spend 82% of their humid summer in some form of water, cutting down the time to change into a suit by a landslide is a win for women everywhere.
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SEVEN. J. CREW PANAMA HAT
Happy Independence Day!
I have curated a summer staple trio: a buttery soft striped tee, multifaceted vintage jeans, and a vibrant + entertaining sandal. With a cherry-topping Panama hat as a close fourth. Who knew my favored combination would be so patriotic? 🇺🇸
My beloved closet item to shop for is a great pair of heels. Something funky and unexpected to polish off an already killer outfit is nirvana. These Chiara Ferragni 'POW BANG' super hero mule sandals came to me in a American Country Music Awards show outfit-planning dream. They gave a certain "pow"--like a real "bang!"--to my orange creamsicle hued Milly dress from Rent the Runway.
I enjoy mixing and re-mixing my closet to create content, but on the go I'm normally a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl. I'm not the type to wake up extra early to whip up a glamorous outfit / curl my hair / paint my face--I'm a slave to sleep. Because of this, I love finding "basics" I can throw on effortlessly when I'm supposed to have left five minutes ago. This J. Crew "perfect fit" tee has proved its candor. On board for the longer sleeve already, and set sail (never returned) when I felt the fabric. S'like buttah!
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SEVEN. DONNI CHARM 'GIGI' NECK SCARF IN INDIGO SEERSUCKER (USE CODE 'AMBERB20' AT CHECKOUT FOR 20% OFF!)
EIGHT. J. CREW PANAMA HAT (MY FAVORITE!)
When I revamped Rag Pepper back in March, I kicked off my comeback with a post discussing transitions. Back then it was a career shift, lately it's consisted of a style morph. As I've spent the last 6 months curating the composition of Rag Pepper--inspiration boards, colors, fonts, my style outlook, etc.--I realized more and more that those components have quaked. Naturally, I didn't care much for the change. Several rounds of internal dialogue resulted in diving even deeper to those sources of inspiration. Fashion blogging is soul searching. For instance? This isn't my favorite outfit Catherine and I have ever shot. Realizing that aspect is inevitable with this profession was a weight lifted. Just like I'm learning to accept my style shifts, I--like everyone--am learning to stumble without a self-sabotaging demeanor.
Potsy and I went to Las Vegas back in April for the 2017 ACM Awards. After strolling through the preserved Old Vegas, New Vegas offered up a hat shop he was dying to visit: Goorin Brothers. Unbeknownst to us we have a flagship here in Nashville, but I left Vegas with the ultimate Lemonade vibes. 🍋🐝
Below are some options for the recent, though faded, feather trim trend! It was more popular this past winter, so most of these tops are on sale.
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A few years ago, a friend of mine stated that I don't really possess a certain "style" because my closet was tent-poled by Bardot dresses, vinyl pants, 70s embroidered jeans, and everything in-between. Crippled by anxiety, I took this negatively. Am I flighty? Does this mean I then lack style if it's not definitive? My relationship with my closet has been my longest. Age has broadened my understanding that my style is ever-changing, with a few common threads connecting the phases. Sometimes I envy those who have found their "uniform" so to speak. I question whether that will ever be me. Meanwhile, I'm enjoying the daily math of outfit formulas that cater to all of my personas. For instance, when I saw these Velvet Underground inspired embroidered jeans at a market in LA, they had to come home with me. The talented stitching of Tatu Gogo always warrants a compliment when I wear this pair. Normally styled with my sandy Converse high-tops and a vintage racing raglan, this time I dressed them up with a white lace-up bodysuit (a summer must-have!) and canary heels to mimic that Nashville sun.
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SIX. NET-A-PORTER / MADEWELL EMBROIDERED HIGH-RISE STRAIGHT LEG JEAN (50% OFF!)
Accessories trends are running rampant these days. Color blocked bags, fishnet socks, 90s style sunnies with tic-tac sized lenses, dirty sneakers with dresses, etc. This week I'm batting a thousand by wearing three trends at once, and letting them speak the loudest. Frisky fishnet socks balanced by vintage bulky leopard heels. Candy coated court bag side by side with a draped rugby striped sweater. Sitting on the bedrock that is a heroic boyfriend jean and a blank button-down. To me, giving these otherwise egregious and extreme trends a preppy cherry on top makes them a little easier to swallow. Meanwhile, you look like a style prodigy. Below are some options to help you master all of the accessories trends--at once.
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TWO. FOSSIL LARGE POUCH WITH COLORFUL GEMSTONES (30% OFF!)
NINE. NORDSTROM / MADEWELL PERFECT VINTAGE HIGH WAIST BOYFRIEND JEAN (MY FAVORITE PAIR!)
THIRTEEN. BROOKS BROTHERS MERINO WOOL RUGBY SWEATER IN NAVY/BLACK (70% OFF!)
Vintage shopping is equivalent to waiting in line at the DMV. I might get what I came for... and I might have to come back another day. But when you find the perfect piece, audible screams are heard. Like this kelly green and weathered yellow RAGS #8 jersey I found on a rack from Black Shag Vintage, a shop in East Nashville. 8 has always been my lucky number and I don't know what team has a mascot of the Rags, and I don't care, but hello Team Rag Pepper. One of those golden pieces where you don't care the price, it must be yours.
I love a graphic tee to dress down an outfit (like a silver satin midi skirt and your treasured fire engine red knee-high boots perchance?). Maybe repping MLB, NBA, or a local high school gym is your style. Some people prefer the retro 90s vibe. I always love a good political statement and you can never go wrong with a perfectly preserved band tee.
Below are some options to help you weed out cool strangers with your emblazoned graphic across your chest. I threw in some silver midi and maxi skirt pieces (that matte sequin number though!) and a couple of pairs of statement boots.
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EIGHT. ASOS SATIN MIDI SKIRT WITH SIDE SLITS IN SILVER (25% OFF!)
NINE. LULU'S SEQUIN MAXI SKIRT IN MATTE GUNMETAL (50% OFF!)
Memorial Day Weekend means water, sunshine and alcohol. Followed by exhaustion from hours of the three combined. This outfit is more of a date night / Memorial Day Weekend combo. Red and cargo green are one of my favorite color pairings. Add a stripe and a glitter heel and I am all aboard. This STORETS boat neck one shoulder pullover is perfect to throw over your white bikini or tucked in to your favorite boyfriend jeans.
Cargo pants are my favorite to dress up because no matter what you're wearing (even a glittery gilded heel), you still feel appropriately dressed for any occasion. Thank you Jenna Lyons for marrying utility and femininity on the red carpet and therefore opening the door for us all.
I bought this fish clutch from Beehive Boutique for my trip to the Dominican Republic because like I've said before, I am bound to buy at least one appropriately adorned accessory before I embark on any vacation. Fishy clutch?! I can't pass up that type of perfection. Beehive is one of my favorite curated boutiques. They're based in Texas, but their online shop is full of goodies. Enjoy 15% off on me with the code TAKE15AB at checkout! (*expires June 1st!) Happy Memorial Day! 🏕🍻🇺🇸🌭
FIVE. RALPH LAUREN SKINNY TWILL CARGO PANT IN GREEN (50% OFF!)
SIX. NORDSTROM RACK / J BRAND CARGO SKINNY PANT IN DISTRESSED CALEDON (56% OFF!)
SEVEN. ASOS / STEVE MADDEN GLITTER POINTED PUMPS IN GOLD (30% OFF!)
TEN. BEEHIVE BOUTIQUE SOMETHING FISHY BAG IN WHITE (ENJOY 15% OFF WITH THE CODE 'TAKE15AB'!)
Last week I talked about how to wear the emerging polka dot trend as a grown ass woman. This week I'm showcasing another spring trend to try: the statement sleeve.
I snagged this red ruffle asymmetrical sleeve top from the Shopbop sale a few weeks ago. I knew it would be perfect for summer margarita nights with the girls, as well as the perfect addition to my suitcase packed for Italy.
Also, its really satisfying to salsa dance in while listening to "Señorita" by Justin Timberlake.
Here I've dressed it down with a cargo skirt and my favorite sneaker. You can always match the elegance with a high-waisted flared dark jean and a high pony tail or a skater skirt with your favorite OTK boot.
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By the time this hits the inter-webs, I will be hurling through the air nestled in a steel cylinder at a remarkably hasty speed. Followed by: arriving safely (*fingers crossed*) into a country of vespas, breakfast spaghetti, wine as water, and gallons of pesto. Also known as...
Whenever I have an upcoming trip and start establishing my wardrobe, without fail I end up adding new pieces before I leave. Clearly, still relevant for a whale of an inspiration like Italy. Luckily, this resurfacing polka dot trend is exactly what I was searching for. *Stay tuned for my Italy Travel Diary in the next week or so!
I'm sure a lot of you are like me and assume you can't pull off polka dots as a grown ass woman. The key is to amp the sexy with the silhouette: spaghetti cami, low neckline, off the shoulder, bigger print for a unique spin. I chose my favorite color to keep it sultry. A pair of heels can't hurt either.
As you know (probably? I feel like we're friends), I love marrying dressy with casual. Print mixing with contrasting stripes or floral is another way to keep the dots on the mature side. Besides Italian fulfillment, this polka dot trend should be able to carry you through all of the summer weddings you RSVP'd to. Below are some of my favorite picks of the newest trend!
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I'm so lucky I grew up in the era of #GIRLPOWER. The rise of female empowerment is slow building and multi-dimensional. Each era holds its own achievements, and sets foundational steps to those we will overcome in the future. The era specifically I'm referring to is the one that housed the girl band / pop star birth. The 90's. Spice Girls, Shania Twain, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Avril Lavigne, etc etc. "If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends." Not like, literally, don't be dense. "Man! I feel like a woman." I've never seen a more unified group of women than at a Shania Twain concert singing specifically what about men that 'don't impress [them] much.' Sure, Britney and Christina were probably severely exploited, but nothing made me feel more confident as a tween than singing one of their songs in front of the mirror, with a dance routine attached.
Any time I fuse a sporty piece with a sexy or sophisticated partner, I always think of Sporty Spice. Just the two words together embody an aura! This semi-recent athleisure trend begs a reference to Mel C in an almost every Instagram caption. She endorsed women to dress more masculine but somehow lock in all the femininity. I was trying to establish the finishing touches of my own formula consisting of: bell sleeve blazer + color blocked sweatshirt + OTK boots + ??!?!! = 2017 Sporty Spice. I pulled out my (very old) running shorts, tried them on and...
ZIGGA ZIG AH. 😎
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FOUR. NORDSTORM / STEVE MADDEN 'GABRIANA' OVER THE KNEE BOOTS (ALSO COME IN GREY!)
FIVE. ZARA BELL SLEEVE JACKET (ALSO COMES IN YELLOW!)
SIX. NORDSTROM / MARC FISHER 'ALINDA' OVER THE KNEE BOOT (COMES IN 4 COLORS!)